Director Nandu Nandan chats about the idea behind filming ants in the short ‘The Ants’, shot on his phone
Ever wondered how much effort ants put in to earn their daily bread? A Malayalam short film, The Ants, directed by Nandu Nandan gives you a peek into the world of ants. A “fantasy short”, the over 8-minute short gets up close with a group of sugar ants as they manage to lug home a granule of laddoo, even at great risk from a mop-wielding human!
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“I shot using a smartphone sans any computer graphics. Once I saw two ants lugging a piece of tapioca chips and taking them to an ant hole in my parents’ room and shot it on my phone. It came out well and so I tried imagining how they would take away another nugget of food. My plan was to upload the video on Instagram. I kept a granule of laddoo and, as expected, they began carrying it to their home. That is when I thought of making a story around the whole process, like how the laddoo came there and what happens after they take it,” says Nandu, an IT professional working at Infopark in Kochi.
A still from the short film ‘The Ants’ | Photo Credit: Special arrangement
Set in a household, the granule falls down when one of the members eat it. Immediately an ant comes in, followed by their cluster and they whisk it away.
Nandu says that it took him six months to shoot the film. “You can’t plan scenes when you are filming ants! So I waited for moments as and when I got them and then created a storyline. I even used sugar syrup to attract them to the desired locations. I didn’t know that ants keep changing their ‘home’ (ant hole), that there are two types of sugar ants and that only one variety has the habit of carting away their food. Another challenge was when I was shooting it, a third variety of ants sneaked into the frame,” says the 25-year-old. The film was shot at his home in Ambalappuzha, near Alappuzha. His parents and a friend have acted in it, but their faces are not shown and there are no dialogues.
Nandu Nandan | Photo Credit: Special arrangement
Among other short films he has shot on his phone include #Be the Change (2020), about Women’s Day shot at his office, COVID-19, an awareness video about the pandemic, and Predecessor, revolving around a crime.
“This is my first attempt at filming macro objects and an inspiration was the [Malayalam] short film Antihero (2020), which has an ant and an antlion as the main characters. However, it was the film Ants On a Plane that gave me the idea that I can work out a story connecting ants and humans.”
The Ants is available on YouTube.
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